Facebook’s Revised Video Metrics are Here to Help. But Do They Really?
Peter Panda

Another day, another update from Facebook.

This time around, Facebook is tweaking the way it measures video advertisements in the News Feed to give businesses a better sense of how users are engaging with their content.

The updates, which stemmed from advertisers’ feedback, will roll out in Ads Manager and through the Facebook Ads API within the next few weeks.

So, what’s this update all about?

Facebook users can pause, rewind and rewatch most video ads (unlike preroll ads on YouTube.) Previously, if someone watched the same video ad multiple times on Facebook, that time counted toward the video’s overall watch time. However, this didn’t give advertisers an accurate measure of how users were engaging with the content.

Moving forward, rewinds will no longer be counted in video ad metrics. Only unrepeated seconds of video watched will count toward video views metrics — not seconds replayed when someone rewinds.

Facebook is also eliminating two metrics: 30-Second Video Views and Video Percentage Watched. Facebook now encourages businesses to use Video Average Watch Time to determine how long users are watching videos.

What does this mean for brands and agencies?

Bottom line: the changes to Facebook’s video ad metrics could give brands and marketers a better sense of how many unique views a video receives. However, we also lose the Video Percentage Watched metric, which made it easy to see when viewers left a video.

It’s quite clear that Facebook is steering brands and publishers toward short videos. From a best practices standpoint, we’re better off sharing videos that capture attention quickly and give a call-to-action soon after. This mitigates the need to figure out where and why viewers leave, which would otherwise have to be measured via the percentage watched metric.

Most importantly, this is all a reminder that brands and agencies need to set business KPIs, not just social media KPIs like video views, likes and shares. If we aren’t measuring our content’s impact on our bottom line, we’re at the whim of Facebook’s decisions on how we’re able to measure that content’s performance.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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